Monday, November 1, 2010

Modern Combat Concepts with Tim Cartmell

After a good five-hour thrashing:
From Left- Jake Burroughs, Me, and Tim Cartmell

MMA Training Group, c/o Terry, thanks


Yesterdays Seminar in Seattle with Tim Cartmell was one of the best I've been to, and my 51 year-old ass held up pretty good. I think the extra conditioning and a preview of Tim's "Ground-proofing" concepts with Jake a couple of weeks ago gave me a heads-up on what to prepare for.

As always, Tim's presentation was brilliant. Tim has experienced the concepts he teaches intellectually, physically, and in highly stressful competitive fighting. Tim knows what will work when the shit hits the fan, and it's no surprise that simpler is better. I've got two pages of notes and had plenty of time to mentally review the seminar on the way home.
As explained, every human will react predictably to given stimulus, like when the hands come up as someone pokes at their eyes. This can be used both ways, in attacking and defending, but let's focus on defense. The key is to take those gross motor skills and morph them into simple and natural reactions that fit a self-defense or fighting concept.
I have to say, this seminar- which was billed as "Intro to Mixed Martial Immersion", made me rethink a lot about how I have been training. That's what a good seminar is supposed to do, and it's sinking into my thick skull.
Tim always keeps his guard in a "boxers triangle" close to his head. He never reaches out to block anything, but rather pats jabs down "monkey paw" style, absorbs hooks against his head with forearms, and blocks body punches with movement and smothering the punches with forearms and elbows, which remain close to the body.
While it may sound like you would take a lot of punishment in this position, it is actually a great protective guard. I asked him if the extended guard of classical styles is still useful in any way, and he said it was just for training. When his master instructors in Taiwan actually fought or sparred, they reverted to this protective position. The idea is, once someone has crossed into punching range, they can work around or knock down an extended guard. The extended guard may work against drunk Rubes, but against anyone that can stand in and throw punches, this is the only guard that will protect you.
Here is where Tim made the distinction between ring fighting and street martial arts. There is no rule set on the street. So when you throw boxing punches, you can not over-rotate and expose your flank, as pro boxers do in the ring at times. You must always remain facing the opponent, so the punches need to be modified.
From the feet Tim moves in to the clinch range, where most fights go anyway. He seeks inside control on the bicep lines and then sets up the take down.
In his way of thinking, even a great kick boxer can get knocked out if the fight keeps on going, and he believes the quickest way to end the fight is to slam the opponent on a hard surface.
Sprawling to prevent leg dives, protecting yourself if you are on your back, and the technical rise to your feet were all covered in detail.
Tim, who wrote the book "Effortless Combat Throws", is an expert in high, damaging throws. But what he teaches are mostly off-balancing knock-downs, ankle picks and the occasional hip throw. Most of the take downs are more like tipping over a large cow; if you use simple angles and leverage it is possible to topple something much larger than yourself.
Those of you who read Dojo Rat regularly know I have a deep passion for the traditional Chinese Internal Martial Arts, especially the meditative and health aspects they provide.
But Tim provided a clear summary of the evolution of martial arts as they stand today. While very, very few of us train for ring fighting, we should not ignore new technology that actually makes survival in a violent confrontation possible.
This seminar will give our little Dojo a ton of new material to work on, in stand-up fighting, clinch work, and if all else fails, how to protect ourselves on the ground and safely return to our feet.
Great stuff from a great instructor, special thanks to my friend and Xingyi instructor Jake Burroughs for hosting the seminar.

14 comments:

Zacky Chan said...

Videos from the island dojo displaying Cartmelian theory onegaishimasu!!!

B said...

DJR -

Dang that sounds like a good one! We had one like that back in my TKD days. Problem is once back at the school we never reviewed the material. There was just too many belt tests and/or tournaments to get ready for and Sabum was already spread thin.

Current teacher teaches boxer triangle and either absorbing or slipping/evading. What would Tim say about trapping, grabbing, counter punching?

Current teacher still teaches us that - mostly from wing chun and silat. I must ask teacher his opinion on this stuff working against a good boxer or someone with fast hands.

Dojo Rat said...

Well, I can't speak for Tim of course, but I could clarify:

If you are focusing of opponent's sternum-chest area, if you can see his feet in pereferial (sp?) vision then extended guard is ok. Once he moves inside that range, you'd better hit him or get hit. Boxers triangle is the best cover then. Tim was big on hitting, we did a lot of hand pad work that I am familiar with, combos.
Forget trying Chin na against a trained fighter unless you have already rocked him with a hit.
Trapping would be ok but what is the goal? I personally will still work hand trapping. Tim seemed to want to go to the clinch.
Tim definately goes for the hard takedown, and he openly advocated running away as common sense. He is an expert in groundfighting, but does not reccommend it in self-defense for obvious reasons.

Kostas Tountas said...

Excellent post - sounds like you took away a lot of useful stuff from that seminar!

Bill said...

Howdy John,

I dont know about you, but I am still sored from the smeinar. You would have enjoyed the Bagua part as well. Tim's techniques is very smooth and effective. Hope to see you again.

Cheers,

You Martial brother from the North AKA William

Dojo Rat said...

Great to see yo again William, I'm reading your article in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts, thanks for that!
Yes, I am sore still, I took a easy day Monday but had a big tree pruning job yesterday and now again today, Lots of ladder and overhead work. As one of my friends says, "It's all about the pain".
Fortunately, I started conditioning for the seminar about two weeks ago, and that definately helped.
See you soon, stay warm in the far north!

jc said...

good information.... the guard aspect is one i think about a lot, and i like his slam to the ground theory, too.

Scott said...

Sorry, but this just doesn't pass the sniff test.
If you ever have to show up in court because of a fight and you use the expression "extended guard" or any "guard" fighting stance you are going to do prison time. It's just not a self-defense concept, it's a sparring concept. It's a matched fighting concept. It's all about attempting to assert dominance and controlling the environment. If you can do that, you can probably run away.

In a surprise attack, you are going to try to increase the chaos, not control it. The more extended you are in your first movement the more likely you are to do damage to your attacker. And anyway the extended positions in kungfu are what you fight TO, not what you fight FROM. You fight FROM a crumpled up position with an elbow on your neck and such.

The old masters 150 years ago had experience with real violence, they knew what they were doing when they designed the forms and they didn't do it just for muscle training! If some modern people aren't able to use the postures and stances the way they were passed down it is because they don't have the correct theory of power that goes with the movements.
These attempts to "fix" the arts so that they will work in a monkey dance on a mat in front of your friends where nobody gets hurt... are fine as long as you know it's a sports fantasy and not the real thing.

Bill said...

Coming from a guy who believes that dance, performance and theatre are important elements in the practice of CMA, you surely have no idea of what’s going on. You claim to know Xingyiquan an one of the first things Xingyi does is to close the distance. You should certainly do better doing you silly African Bagua Performance and leave fighting to fighters, which by the way is what Tim Cartmell is. You obviously are saying that you can override instinctive responses to external stimuli, well good luck with that. Last but not least the less you sniff the stuff you obviously do the smarter you will be.

Scott said...

Bill I don't know what you mean by instincts, but yes I would say that the internal martial arts all attempt to teach the student to not lock up. Attempting to control is an act of dominance, not self-defense. In push-hands for instance, you don't resist force, you add to it.
I don't know what other folks are calling xingyi out there, but closing the gap is an option, not a necessity. People who don't have the power to clear and strike at the same time, often resort to closing the gap because it makes them feel safer. The result is a generation or two of people who dismiss side power and other more difficult techniques.

Here is George Xu explaining it to beginners:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6gMh3aZcX4

After he explains the basic idea he explains that higher level skills use clearing and striking in the same action (not visible in that video but in many more recent ones).

And if you have something to add to the debate about theater and the martial arts I'm all ears.

Bill said...

how about quoting the book you loved, History in Three Keys?

"The fighting techniques the Boxers learned (at least in part) from the combat scenes in villages opera performance may well have served them poorly in real combat"

well duh, performace oriented stuff is just that, their goal is to impress and entertain the audience. Theater has borrowed elementns from real life includng martial arts. Can a good martial artist be a god performer, sure thing, can a person who just perform for entertaiment be able to apply his stuff in the battlefield? I certainly dont think so.

William

Bill said...

how about quoting the book you loved, History in Three Keys?

"The fighting techniques the Boxers learned (at least in part) from the combat scenes in villages opera performance may well have served them poorly in real combat"

well duh, performace oriented stuff is just that, their goal is to impress and entertain the audience. Theater has borrowed elementns from real life includng martial arts. Can a good martial artist be a god performer, sure thing, can a person who just perform for entertaiment be able to apply his stuff in the battlefield? I certainly dont think so.

William

Scott said...

Bill, if you've read the book you know it's a lot more complex than that.
1. Some individual boxers were famous for their fighting skills.
2. Some had very little training and were just hungry orphans.
3. They cut off plenty enough heads, slaughtered thousands of Christians and burned several cities to the ground.
4. They clearly were disorganized and only once formed lines scary enough to cause a retreat by soldiers. That says nothing about the skills of those individuals who may have had years real opera training, or how it would have worked in hand to hand, weapon to weapon or a self-defense situation.
5. By combat, Cohen is referring to the Boxers being mowed down by crack troops with guns.

Anonymous said...

You need to take part in a contest for one of the greatest sites on
the internet. I most certainly will highly recommend
this blog!

Also visit my web blog ... Healthy Diet